One thing that happens a lot at my speaking engagements or workshops is I'll ask the audience if they've done certain behaviors within leadership, negative or positive, naming off a few this or that. When the behavior is positive, nearly every hand raises, and people are willing to share their wins. But when it's something negative, the room emanates silence and hesitancy. Of course, no one wants to admit that they have done wrong. But haven't we all? Most of us don't take a leadership role without hitting a few bumps in the road, like failing to close the loop or listening to respond instead of listening to understand. So when you don't own the bad and indifferent, it diminishes the good you have to show.
The reality is that we can't be perfect all the time. Try as we might, there will always be things that we fail at. The first step in moving forward is to accept it. Accepting failure or imperfections begins the process of implementing change and being openly vulnerable.
The Gift of Vulnerability
Secondly, show your people that you are comfortable admitting your faults. This is gifting them your vulnerability. The reason I call this a gift is because when they receive this from you, they understand that they can be vulnerable without judgment too. As I often talk about, I am not referring to unfettered vulnerability, but selective vulnerability. You can choose what you want to show, but you do need to make that choice. You should want to show your people that you can admit your mistakes and be willing to take action for improvement in those areas.
Confidence in Imperfection
Lastly, show confidence in whatever you do. Don't allow others to dim your light simply to admit that you've made a mistake. There will always be people intimidated by your success, but confidence does not equal arrogance. This will set the tone for your workplace culture and help your team express their authenticity too. If you find yourself or your team members struggling, evaluate where you're at and look into solutions like having a one-on-one cadence to review the day or week and focus on the commitment to be better. Journaling is also a great way to track improvements.
Always show up as your authentic and imperfect self. There is always beauty to be found in both confidence and imperfection.